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MLB Owners Vote Unanimously to Institute Lockout

For the first time in over 25 years, Major League Baseball will undergo a work stoppage.

On Wednesday night, the league's owners reportedly voted unanimously to institute a lockout. The news was first reported by Jon Heyman of MLB Network. The lockout is expected to begin on Thursday at an unknown time, which will mark the first work stoppage for MLB since the 1994-95 players strike that resulted in the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.

The current collective bargaining agreement between the owners and players expired at 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

This result was an expected one, with newly signed Mets pitcher and member of the Players Association leadership Max Scherzer saying earlier in the day that a lockout was a "very likely scenario."

After the lockout was official, commissioner Rob Manfred released a letter to fans expressing his disappointment in the lockout, and saying that the players have been unwilling to bend during negotiations.

"Simply put, we believe that an offseason lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season," Manfred wrote. "We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time. This defensive lockout was necessary because the Players Association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive. It’s simply not a viable option. From the beginning, the MLBPA has been unwilling to move from their starting position, compromise, or collaborate on solutions."

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Manfred characterized the players's negotiation stance as favoring "confrontation over compromise," and criticized the union for not wavering off of their demands. He said the decision to institute a lockout now is being done to "doing damage to the 2022 season."

The Players Association also released a statement on Wednesday, calling the lockout a "dramatic measure" and affirming their intent to reach a new agreement that is fair to all parties.

“These tactics are not new," the statement read. "We have been here before, and Players have risen to the occasion time and again—guided by a solidarity that has been forged over generations. We will do so again here.”

Among the major issues the owners and players do not yet see eye-to-eye on are service time toward free agency, the luxury tax and a possible salary floor, playoff expansion and a litany of rule changes, including a universal designated hitter, pitch clock, maximum number of pitchers on a roster and larger bases to encourage stealing.

During the lockout, free agency and major trades will not be allowed. Teams have conducted a flurry of moves in the days leading up to the CBA's expiration, seemingly in anticipation of the work stoppage.

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